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Ice fishing recommendations

Excerpts provided by Riversmith


When visiting Noble County, Indiana, chances are high you are a stone’s throw away from one of the area’s 117 lakes. Surrounded by immense natural beauty and rich history, Noble County is well known for its endless ice fishing possibilities. Thirty of the county's natural lakes offer perfect conditions for ice fishing. How do you decide which lake’s ice to drill into with so many options? Here, we lay out the best of the best!


Sylvan Lake – In Rome City


"My friend and I went ice fishing on Sylvan Lake in northern Indiana. The first hour on the ice, the bite was fast, but by noon, they shut off fast - and that was it for the day. I did miss either a decent-sized Bass or Walleye that came off when it hit the ice below the hole. The ice was plenty safe at 10 inches thick. In the foreground is our catch of 8 Bluegills, 1 Crappie, and 1 Redear." - Matt Weldon, fishing Sylvan Lake in Rome City.

In the heart of Rome City and 669 acres in size, Sylvan Lake is the largest lake mentioned so far. When ice fishing here, walleyes, bluegills, largemouth bass, and white crappies are most commonly caught. The Department of Fish and Wildlife consistently stock Sylvan with walleyes, and have for many years. With many grown well past the minimum keeper size limit, some walleyes reach up to 25 inches!

Photo by Neon_Ti (Depositphotos)
Photo by Neon_Ti (Depositphotos)

Ice-fishing success has been on the upswing and all the rage at Sylvan Lake. To catch these notorious walleyes, bait your hook with minnows, leeches, and night crawlers. If you’re interested in going after a catch the fly-fishing, bait-casting, or spinning route, your chances are very good on Sylvan Lake- a must visit destination for fisherman year round.


Richard Corrigan, a blog writer for Best Fishing in America lists Sylvan Lake as one of the 10 Best Walleye Fishing Lakes and Rivers in Indiana.


Bear Lake – Near Tri-Lakes

Bear Lake is best known for its sunfish, bass, and pike fish, but there are a variety of fish here including perch, warmouths, crappies, pumpkinseeds, and bullheads. An ice angler can find just about anything he or she wants on Bear Lake.


136 acres in size, Bear Lake is located a little over 6 miles northwest of Tri-Lakes, another popular fishing spot in Northeast Indiana. The most optimal hours for ice fishing are between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., when the temperature on the ice is slowly rising with the sun and fish are hungry, skimming the surface for the next meal.


With such a variety of fish in Bear Lake’s waters, an ice fisherman can get overwhelmed with what use for bait. A sure-fire bait that will capture bites from almost any variety of fish is worms. Small minnows, crickets, or midges may also work, but worms are going to attract just about everything here.


Cree Lake – Near Kendallville

Cree Lake is a 76-acre lake located about five miles north of Kendallville. This ice fishing hot spot has received plenty of nods for being one of the best lakes – if not the best – for ice fishing in the area. A variety of fish can be pulled from these waters including rock bass, warmouth, perch, bullhead, bowfin, pickerel, crappie, bluegill, gar, largemouth bass, and northern pike.

Bluegill
Bluegill

That said, bluegills and largemouth bass are dominant at Cree Lake. To stock your fly box for these popular fish, you’ve got plenty of options. Bluegills love worms, crickets, grasshoppers, and red wrigglers. Live bait works especially well for bluegills. Largemouth bass, on the other hand, are suckers for crayfish and shad. Largemouth are not picky eaters and will eat just about anything you bait your hook with, but most fisherman choose to go the artificial lure route, especially for multi-day trips. Either way, anglers have a lot of luck here and the conditions are almost always perfect for successful ice fishing!


The Fly-Fishing Here Is Top-Notch Too

Speaking of different fishing techniques, with more than 30 Indiana Department of Natural Resources access points, Noble County is also home to some incredible fly-fishing opportunities for those who don’t like to withstand the winter weather that accompanies ice fishing. Take a boat or a kayak and pack along your fishing gear to enjoy a relaxed day on any of Noble County’s waters.


Make Noble County Your Next Fly-Fishing Destination

With 117 lakes in Noble County’s territory, the fishing here is some of the best out there. Wherever you drill into the ice, chances are you’ll have a great time paired up with some magnificent views. If you’re flying to Noble County and are new to the sport, but eager to try, consider booking with an ice fishing guide that can show a great time. If you’re going to give fly-fishing a whirl and are traveling to Noble County by car, a Riversmith roof rack protects your fly rod, giving you peace of mind on the road. But most important of all, pack an ice cooler big enough for all that you’re bound to catch this winter! Have fun casting in Noble County!

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